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Government suspends Benchmark Values reversal until Jan 6


 The government has suspended the benchmark review reversal until Thursday, January 6, 2022.

A credible source at the Ghana Revenue Authority revealed to JoyNews, and checks at the ports show that agents are clearing their goods with the old charges.

It is unclear what informed the sudden change of plan and the implementation of the old charges at the ports.

However, interest groups like GUTA say it could be due to the agitation and pushback they have demonstrated since the announcement of the reversal of the benchmark and system breakdown at the ports on Tuesdays, the day the policy was expected to have kicked in.

The Importers and Exporters Association of Ghana, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA), and the Vehicle and Asserts union of Ghana have spoken vehemently against the policy directive and called on the administration to reverse the decision. They argue that failure by the government to heed their call will only make like difficult for the consumer, who will ultimately bear the brunt by paying more than they have budgeted for the year.

One other contentious issue about the directive is that agents whose goods have not been cleared at the ports as of January 4, 2022, would be affected and have to pay the full charges, a directive the affected groups describe as treacherous.

In an interview with Joy News, deputy General Secretary of the Vehicle and Asserts Union, Frank Stanley Kofigah, describe the policy directive, particularly the bit about the policy that rope in goods that were at the ports before the implantation, as

‘’unfair, treacherous, wicked and inhumane’’, adding that failure to reverse the directive completely will make life ‘’painful’’ for the Ghanaian people. It means that agents and customers have a window period till Thursday, January 6, 2022, to clear their goods by paying the old charges.

In an interview with Joy News, an unimpressed deputy Communication Director of GUTA, Joseph Osei Yaw Agyemang, held his grounds insisting on a complete reversal of the policy directive on the 43 items that will eventually be affected.

He said, ‘’it is not welcoming news. What we want is a complete reversal to the old charges and nothing else’’.

The benchmark values policy was introduced in 2019 by the Akufo Addo-led administration in accordance with the World Customs Organization’s policy of regular review of valuation database.But as government steps up efforts to widen the tax net and increase revenue generation, the genial policy has been reversed to the disgust of not just agents but a chunk of the population. joynews

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